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Tort Law

Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=419

AC38538 - Papallo v. Lefebvre (Fiduciary duty; "On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by concluding that (1) the defendant did not breach his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff through his handling of the LLC revenues; (2) the defendant did not have the intent necessary to be found liable for statutory theft; (3) an accounting was not warranted; and (4) the defendant's conduct did not violate CUTPA. The defendant did not participate in this appeal. We agree with the first claim but disagree with the remaining ones. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=415

AC38284 - Bruno v. The Travelers Companies ("The plaintiff, Lisa Bruno, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendants, The Travelers Companies and The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, after the court (1) granted the defendants' second motion to strike counts three through nine of the plaintiff's amended complaint on the ground of absolute immunity, and (2) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on counts one and two on the grounds that those counts were brought outside of the two year limitation period contained in the parties' contract of insurance. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court's judgment was improper because (1) 'absolute immunity implicates the court's subject matter jurisdiction,' and, therefore, the court erred in allowing the defendants to raise that issue via a motion to strike, (2) the defendants were not immune to suit on the basis of an absolute privilege, and (3) the plaintiff's claims were not time barred.

"After review, we conclude that the litigation privilege provides an absolute immunity from suit and, thus, implicates the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. As such, the plaintiff's causes of action against the defendants are barred. We further conclude that the court should have dismissed the plaintiff's original complaint, rather than permit her to replead, after it determined that the doctrine of absolute immunity applied to her entire complaint. Accordingly, the form of judgment is improper, and we, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter with direction to render a judgment of dismissal. ")

AC37965 - PMG Land Associates, L.P. v. Harbour Landing Condominium Assn., Inc. ("The plaintiff, PMG Land Associates, L.P., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, Harbour Landing Condominium Association, Inc., David Potter, Vincent DeLauro, and Margareth Butterworth. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=382

AC38636 - Gaetano v. Manley (Constitutional Law; "The plaintiff, Michael Gaetano, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, his claims under the federal and state constitutions, directed at the defendants, current and former Department of Correction employees Kevin Manley, Michael Beaudry, and Marco Perez, in their official capacities for monetary damages, for return of personal property, and for declaratory and injunctive relief, and also dismissing, because of statutory immunity, his claims against the defendants pursuant to General Statutes § 4-165."

"...There is no error.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=364

AC38155 - Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc. (Negligence; "In Barry v. Quality Steel Products Inc., 263 Conn. 424, 436–39, 820 A.2d 258 (2003), our Supreme Court abolished the use of the superseding cause doctrine in cases in which the conduct of the intervening actor was merely negligent. This appeal requires us to consider the vitality of the doctrine in circumstances in which the conduct of the intervening actor is criminally reckless. We conclude that the doctrine is alive and well in such cases.")

AC38173 - Stamatopoulos v. ECS North America, LLC (Conversion; "The plaintiff, Evangelos Stamatopoulos, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a bench trial, in favor of the defendant, ECS North America, LLC, on both of the plaintiff's claims for conversion and replevin. He claims that the court erroneously concluded that the defendant was a good faith purchaser of the subject property for value under the Uniform Commercial Code, General Statutes § 42a-1-101 et seq. We conclude, however, that this claim is moot because there is an independent, unchallenged ground upon which we may affirm the court's judgment for the defendant on both counts of the complaint. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=336

AC38297 - Ding v. Lazaro (Negligence; "The defendant state of Connecticut appeals from judgment of the trial court denying its motion to dismiss count three of the plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The defendant claims that the trial court improperly concluded that sovereign immunity did not deprive it of subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiff's statutorily required notice of claim under the state highway defect statute, General Statutes § 13a-144, was not patently defective in its description of the place of injury. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38826 - Jolley v. Vinton (Alleged deprivation of plaintiff's federal constitutional rights; "The plaintiff, Carlton Jolley, appeals to this court claiming that the trial court improperly granted the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants, Captain Brian Vinton and Attorney General George Jepsen, based on statutory and sovereign immunity. The defendants claim that the court correctly granted the motion to dismiss with respect to Jepsen, but concede that the court should not have granted the motion to dismiss with respect to Vinton. After a careful review of the briefs to this court and the record, and in light of the defendants' concession, we agree with the defendants.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=316

AC38488 - Weihing v. Preto-Rodas ("The plaintiff, Kristina Weihing, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Robert J. Preto-Rodas and Margaret Preto-Rodas, in this action brought pursuant to General Statutes § 22-357. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly (1) admitted photographs of the defendants' dog and (2) denied her motion to set aside the jury's verdict and for a new trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=300

AC38343 - Gordon v. Gordon (Fraud; "In this civil action, the plaintiff, Alan J. Gordon, appeals from the trial court's order granting summary judgment for the defendant, Carol Gordon, on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the three tort actions alleged in the plaintiff's complaint were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, General Statutes § 52-577. The plaintiff claims that the court committed plain error in granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment because the defendant had not properly pleaded the statute of limitations as a special defense, and, therefore, had waived her right to raise it as a ground for summary judgment. We affirm the judgment of the court. ")

AC38194 - Hammer v. Posta (Negligence; "The defendants, Dominic Posta and Leticia Posta, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor of the plaintiff, Edward Hammer. After rendering a default judgment against Leticia Posta for her failure to appear, the court found Dominic Posta liable to the plaintiff under General Statutes § 22-357 for injuries caused by the defendants' dog and awarded the plaintiff $30,910.30 in damages and court costs. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court improperly (1) denied the defendant's request for a jury trial, and (2) relied on the arguments of counsel rather than reviewing the medical records that had been admitted as evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=291

AC38370 - DeCastro v. Odetah Camping Resort, Inc. (Negligence; "In this wrongful death action, the plaintiff, Adelson Luiz DeCastro, the administrator of the estate of Jose Luiz DeCastro (decedent), appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court in accordance with its decision granting a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict filed by the defendant, Odetah Camping Resort, Inc. The decedent drowned while swimming in a lake abutting the defendant's resort. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in (1) applying the wrong legal standard for proximate cause; and (2) rendering judgment notwithstanding the verdict when the jury reasonably could have concluded that the defendant's negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's injuries. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=282

AC37833 - Ventura v. East Haven (Negligence; "The defendant, the town of East Haven, appeals from the judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff, Thomas Ventura, after the jury returned a verdict awarding him damages for personal injuries he sustained when he was struck by a motor vehicle driven by a private individual, Vladimir Trnka. The jury concluded that the defendant was not immune from liability because, earlier in the evening on the day of the accident, East Haven police officer Jeffrey Strand, after investigating an unrelated domestic violence incident involving Trnka, had a clear ministerial duty to tow Trnka's vehicle on the basis of the vehicle's invalid registration and improper plates. The court denied the defendant's motions to direct or to set aside the verdict.

"On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred when it failed to (1) direct a verdict for the defendant on the basis of governmental immunity; (2) direct or set aside the verdict on the ground that the plaintiff had not produced sufficient evidence that Strand's alleged negligence actually or proximately caused the plaintiff's injuries; and (3) set aside the jury's verdict because the court admitted irrelevant and prejudicial testimony regarding Trnka's possible intoxication and agitation, and permitted the plaintiff's expert to testify about East Haven police procedures despite his having no special knowledge about them. We agree with the defendant's first claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=277

AC38036 - Law Offices of Frank N. Peluso, P.C. v. Rendahl (Tortious interference with business relationships; "The plaintiffs, Law Offices of Frank N. Peluso, P.C., and Frank Peluso, appeal from the judgment of the trial court dismissing their complaint against the defendant, Joy M. Rendahl, on the basis of absolute litigation immunity. We agree with the defendant that the plaintiffs' brief on appeal is inscrutable. Nonetheless, even if we were to read the plaintiffs' primary claim broadly, in the manner advanced at oral argument, i.e., as claiming that the defendant does not have absolute immunity or, alternatively, that we should abrogate any legal precedent affording the defendant absolute immunity, we conclude that the claim fails on the merits.")

AC38221 - Oliphant v. Heath (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Vorcelia Oliphant, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her motion to open a judgment of nonsuit and denying her motion to reargue or reconsider the court's denial of her motion to open. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in denying her motions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=274

AC38022 - Brown v. Njoku (Battery; "Following a trial to the court, the self-represented defendant, Edwin Njoku, appeals from the judgment rendered by the court in favor of the plaintiff, Suzette Brown. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) erred by failing 'to enter an appearance' for Christus Medical Group, P.C. (business), (2) abused its discretion by denying his request for a continuance, (3) improperly found that the plaintiff had sustained her burden of proof, and (4) denied him the right to due process and a fair trial by failing to let him participate in 'trial management' and to oppose a trial to the court. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=265

SC19310 - Bifolck v. Philip Morris, Inc. ("This case is the second of two diversity actions in which the federal courts certified questions for this court's advice regarding the viability of an action under Connecticut's Product Liability Act (act) alleging that a cigarette’s design had increased consumers' risk of cancer. The courts sought advice whether specific theories advanced in those actions are precluded by this court's adoption of § 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, which imposes liability for defective products that are 'unreasonably dangerous,' and more particularly, our adoption of comment (i) to § 402A, which defines that term in relation to consumers' knowledge of the danger. In the first of these actions, this court advised that the strict liability theory advanced was not precluded because it required application of our modified consumer expectation test, under which the obviousness of the danger is only one of many factors that the trier of fact may consider. Izzarelli v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 321 Conn. 172, 177, 136 A.3d 1232 (2016).

In the present action, this court considers three substantive questions: (1) whether, for claims alleging design defects, we should abandon our dual tests based on § 402A of the Restatement (Second) of Torts and adopt the standards under the Restatement (Third) of Torts, Products Liability; (2) if not, whether § 402A and comment (i) provide a single, unitary definition for all theories under which product liability claims may be brought, including negligence; and (3) whether the punitive damages available in the act are limited to litigation costs under our common-law punitive damages rule. This court raised the first question; we accepted certification with respect to the second and third questions, pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199b (d), from the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. See Bifolck v. Philip Morris, Inc., Docket No. 3:06cv1768 (SRU), 2014 WL 585325 (D. Conn. February 14, 2014).

For the reasons that follow, we decline at this time to adopt the Restatement (Third). Nonetheless, we are persuaded that modest refinements to our product liability tests under the Restatement (Second) will clarify the plaintiff's burden of proof in strict liability cases and provide a better guide to any necessity for adopting the Restatement (Third) or any other substantive change. We further conclude that, although all product liability claims require proof of a 'defective condition unreasonably dangerous' to the user or consumer, unreasonably dangerous is not determined by consumer expectations under comment (i) to § 402A when such a claim may be brought under a theory of negligence. Finally, we conclude that punitive damages under the act are not limited by the common-law rule. Accordingly, we answer both of the certified questions 'No.'"


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=250

AC37906 - Rivera v. CR Summer Hill, Ltd. Partnership (Negligence; "The plaintiff, Rose Rivera, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, CR Summer Hill, Limited Partnership, and Carabetta Property Management, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment because a genuine issue of material fact existed regarding whether the defendants had constructive notice of the inadequate lighting and the lack of a handrail that caused the plaintiff's alleged injuries. We agree and reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=236

SC19461 - Blakely v. Danbury Hospital (Wrongful death; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether the lapse of a jurisdictional time limitation for commencing suit in a statutory cause of action gives a defendant immunity from suit, such that an interlocutory appeal would be permitted to challenge a decision concluding that the accidental failure of suit statute (savings statute), General Statutes § 52-592, saved an otherwise untimely action. We conclude that no immunity from suit arises under such circumstances. Consequently, a decision concluding that the savings statute permits a statutory cause of action subject to a jurisdictional time limitation to proceed cannot be the subject of an interlocutory appeal authorized under State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983).")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=232

AC37866 - Ford v. St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center (Personal injury; "The plaintiff, Jeffrey Ford, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center (hospital), Turner Construction Company, RJB Contracting, Inc., and R.J.B. Concrete Pumping, LLC. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) denied his motion to set aside the jury verdict, (2) failed to give the jury an instruction on res ipsa loquitur, (3) failed to adequately instruct the jury regarding the nondelegable duty owed to business invitees, (4) allowed evidence of an event that occurred subsequent to the incident at issue, and (5) denied his motion for a new trial although he demonstrated that the jury applied the wrong burden of proof. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")



Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=226

AC38100 - Bloch v. Callaghan ("On October 24, 2014, the plaintiff, Robert M. Bloch, filed this action sounding in tort against Barbara Callaghan and against two attorneys who the plaintiff claimed had represented her, Gregory Bachand and Frank Lieto. On December 1, 2014, Bachand moved that the action be dismissed as to him for lack of personal jurisdiction on the grounds that (1) the plaintiff did not post a recognizance bond, as required by General Statutes § 52-185 and Practice Book § 8-3, and (2) the plaintiff did not serve him in hand or at his place of abode, as required by General Statutes § 52-54….The appeal is dismissed.")


Tort Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=191

SC19507 - Strycharz v. Cady ("The named plaintiff, Joseph Strycharz, commenced this action against the defendants Karen A. Loiselle, the superintendent of schools for the town of Colchester, Jeffry P. Mathieu, the principal of Bacon Academy (school), a public high school in the town of Colchester, Dale J. McCubrey and Ross Sward, assistant principals, William D. Hettrick, John Mazzarella, Elizabeth A. Ciccione, Linda M. Hodge, and Andrew C. George, Jr., members of the Board of Education of the Town of Colchester (board), and the town of Colchester (town), among others, after he was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Norwich Avenue and the school's driveway on the morning of September 20, 2007. The plaintiff sought damages from the defendants for negligent supervision of school staff and students during school hours and indemnification from the town for those defendants' negligence pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2007) § 7-465. The town, Loiselle, Mathieu, McCubrey, Sward, Hettrick, Mazzarella, Ciccione, Hodge, and George, among others, moved for summary judgment, claiming, inter alia, that governmental immunity shielded them from liability. The trial court granted the motion with respect to those defendants as to the counts directed at them after concluding that their duty to supervise school staff and students was discretionary, and, as a consequence, they were shielded from liability by governmental immunity. Although the trial court concluded that the responsibilities of Mathieu, McCubrey and Sward also included a ministerial duty to assign school staff to supervise students during school hours, the court also determined that they, too, were entitled to summary judgment because the undisputed evidence established as a matter of law that they had discharged that ministerial duty. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly granted the motion for summary judgment. We agree with the plaintiff that the trial court improperly granted the motion for summary judgment as to McCubrey and Sward with respect to the plaintiff's claim that they breached their ministerial duty to assign school staff to supervise students during school hours. We uphold the granting of the motion for summary judgment in all other respects.")


Employment Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=162

SC19534 - Sowell v. DiCara ("PER CURIAM. In the course of a civil action pending between the plaintiff, Julie M. Sowell, and the defendants Southbury-Middlebury Youth and Family Services, Inc. (Southbury-Middlebury), Dierdre H. DiCara, and Mary Jane McClay, the plaintiff sought to support her challenge to Southbury-Middlebury's counterclaim against her by filing an application, pursuant to General Statutes § 33-1089, to determine the validity of the election of its directors and officers. The plaintiff now appeals, upon our grant of her petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing her appeal from the decision of the trial court granting the defendants' motion to dismiss the application. In the present appeal, the plaintiff claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court's dismissal of the application was not an appealable final judgment under the first or second prong of State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983).

After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.

The appeal is dismissed.")


Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=156

AC37811 - Vaccaro v. Shell Beach Condominium, Inc. ("The plaintiff, Enrico Vaccaro, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Shell Beach Condominium, Inc. (association), and certain individual members of its board of directors, Andrew Hames, Frank Meolli, Michael Gagliardi, Michelle Augliera, and Raymond Vermette (individually named defendants), on the basis that all of the plaintiff's claims arising from the deprivation of the use of a particular garage were time barred. The plaintiff argues that the court erred in rendering summary judgment in favor of the defendants, because, inter alia: (1) the trial court applied the wrong statute of limitations to count one of his complaint, which sought to enforce the condominium instruments; and (2) genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the applicable statutes of limitations were tolled by virtue of the continuing course of conduct doctrine. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


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